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Guru (born Keith Edward Elam, July 17, 1966 in the Boston neighborhood of Roxburymarker) is an Americanmarker rapper and former member of the hip-hop duo Gang Starr. He is known for delivering complex lyrics in a unique monotone style. Members of the hip-hop community consider him to be one of the pioneers of hiphop/jazz crossover. The name Guru is a backronym that stands for "Gifted Unlimited Rhymes Universal" and the less often used "God is Universal, he is the Ruler Universal".

Background

Founded in 1987, Gang Starr built a sizable following in the early 90's, releasing classic albums like Step in the Arena (1991) and Daily Operation (1992). Guru's lyrical style is based on battle rhymes delivered smoothly, modestly, and with sly wit; he typically avoids using overwhelming charisma, focusing instead on his rhyming ability, which developed into his trademark monotone style. Over the years he has even taken on younger rappers, including Jeru the Damaja, as proteges. He is credited with DJ Premier for executive producing Jeru's debut, The Sun Rises in the East (1994).

In 1993, he released his first solo album, Jazzmatazz, Vol. 1. The album featured collaborations with Donald Byrd, N'Dea Davenport and Roy Ayers, while his second LP, Jazzmatazz, Vol. 2: The New Reality, featured Ramsey Lewis, Branford Marsalis and Jamiroquai. The Jazzmatazz albums are commonly considered some of the best rap of the early 90s, Guru's reputation was also bolstered through the continued success of Jazzmatazz, Vol. 3: Streetsoul (2000) and Baldhead Slick & Da Click (2001).

Moreover, recent Gang Starr albums have continued to garner Guru critical acclaim. Prominent Boston underground rapper Mr. Lif frequently cites Guru as a major stylistic influence; he appears as a guest with Lif on the Perceptionists' debut album, Black Dialogue (2005).

Besides Gang Starr, his Jazzmatazz and solo albums, Guru has collaborated with countless artists since the early 90s. Not only in hiphop, but also with artists from various genres such as pop, electronica/dance, acid jazz and even brass bands.

His "first proper solo album", in his own words, was Version 7.0: The Street Scriptures (2005), released with the help of producer and new backup MC Solar (who is not to be confused with MC Solaar from France). The album reached #1 on the college hip-hop charts, but was a failure with both fans and critics. It still managed to sell relatively well for an independent release.

Guru's latest project is the fourth installment in the Jazzmatazz series, entirely produced by Solar. It was released in early June 2007. May 19, 2008 Guru and Solar released Guru 8.0: Lost And Found. All the projects produced by Solar were met with mixed but generally negative reviews by Critics and fans, yet Guru states he will not work with DJ Premier again.

Gang Starr's current status and future are unknown. Guru is currently living in Jersey City, NJ and frequents Newport Skates in downtown Jersey City.

In 2007 Guru was ranked at 45 for the Top 50 MCs of our time: 1987-2007

More on this topic is to be found in the main article for Gang Starr.


Discography

Gang Starr albums are listed in the group's main article.


Jazzmatazz Albums

Album information
Jazzmatazz, Vol. 1
  • Released: May 18, 1993
  • Billboard 200 chart position: #94
  • UK chart position: #58
  • R&B/Hip-Hop chart position: #15
  • Singles: "Trust Me", "Loungin'", "No Time To Play" & "Le Bien, Le Mal"
Jazzmatazz, Vol. 2: The New Reality
  • Released: July 18, 1995
  • Billboard 200 chart position: #71
  • UK chart position: #12
  • R&B/Hip-Hop chart position: #16
  • Singles: "Watch What You Say" & "Livin' In This World"
Jazzmatazz, Vol. 3: Streetsoul
  • Released: September 26, 2000
  • Billboard 200 chart position: #32
  • UK chart position: #74
  • R&B/Hip-Hop chart position: #8
  • UK chart position: #74
  • Singles: "Keep Your Worries", "Lift Your Fist", "Certified" & "Supa Love"
Jazzmatazz, Vol. 4: The Hip-Hop Jazz Messenger: Back To The Future
  • Released: June 5, 2007
  • Billboard 200 chart position: N/A
  • R&B/Hip-Hop chart position: #45
  • Singles: "State Of Clarity"


Label Compilation (Various Artists)

Album information
Guru Presents Ill Kid Records
  • Released: 1995
  • Billboard 200 chart position: -
  • R&B/Hip-Hop chart position: -
  • Singles: -


Baldhead Slick All Star Album

Album information
Baldhead Slick & Da Click
  • Released: September 25, 2001
  • Billboard 200 chart position: #122
  • R&B/Hip-Hop chart position: #22
  • Singles: "Where's Our Money?!/In Here" & "Cry/Pimp Shit"


Solo Albums

Album information
Version 7.0: The Street Scriptures
  • Released: May 10, 2005
  • Billboard 200 chart position: -
  • R&B/Hip-Hop chart position: #54
  • Singles: "Cave In", "Step In The Arena 2" & "Hood Dreamin"
Guru 8.0: Lost and Found
  • Released: May 19, 2009
  • Billboard 200 chart position: -
  • R&B/Hip-Hop chart position: -
  • Singles: "Divine Rule", "Fastlane", "Ride", "After Time & "No Gimmick Sh*t"


Filmography



Notes

References



External links




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